In Flint, 99% of Homes Are Safe As Long As They Have a Water Filter

Here’s another look at the current state of water in Flint. Instead of an average, it shows the number of homes with different levels of lead in their tap water. The data (here) is for the entire month of November (11/3 through 12/1) and covers 493 homes. The testing is done with unfiltered water.

About 87 percent of homes have lead content of 5 parts per billion or less. This is safe for anyone, even small children. Another 9 percent have lead content of 6-15 ppb. This is probably safe for adults, and safe for children if it’s filtered. Another 3 percent have lead levels between 16-100 ppb. This is unsafe unless filtered. Finally, about 1 percent of homes have lead levels above 100 ppb, which might be unsafe even if it’s filtered.

The filters are critical here. About 99 percent of Flint homes have safe water as long as a filter is properly installed and maintained. Replacing Flint’s service lines will take a long time, and in the meantime the emphasis should be almost exclusively on making sure everyone has a working filter. Only a tiny percentage of houses still need to be using bottled water.